Pepper, the new companion robot from Tokyo-based technology company Softbank Corp., delivers cuteness like never seen before and dotes on you with unwavering attention, “You look a bit thin,” it coos in a soft childlike voice, free of any rigid mechanical accent. “You should watch what you eat.” Only available in Japan so far, overseas sales are undecided. Pepper has cameras, lasers and infrared in its hairless head to detect human faces and is equipped with enough of a repertoire to avoid easy boredom which is constantly being updated through a WiFi connection. Each Pepper is hand-made by Foxconn in China, limiting supplies to 1,000 a month. The first batch for July sold out in a minute.
It also has programming that sets off the equivalent of its own human emotions, such as getting nervous if a room suddenly goes dark, or elation when you pat its head and shower it with praise, such as: “You are the best-looking robot I have ever seen. I love you. You’re the best.” “I am going to cry for joy,” it says, throwing its arms up in the air
On the flat-panel display attached to its chest, it offers boxes to tap for various tasks, such as reading storybooks, giving a tarot-card reading, playing the radio, working as a drum machine and relaying the weather forecast. A complete pet package, one might say!